The 10 Best Movies Based on a True Story to Watch in 2018

Culture
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“Tell all the truth but tell it slant.” So wrote the inimitable Emily Dickinson, whose life was given the Hollywood slant in a 2016 film starring Cynthia Nixon called A Quiet Passion. Sometimes the greatest films start off as remarkable lives that, with a little cinematic magic, transform when projected onto screens. Here’s 2018’s most successfully slanted big-screen true stories.

That Miracle Season

In 2011, the Iowa City West High School volleyball team suffered a tragic loss with the sudden accidental death of their captain, Caroline Found. Led by coach Kathy Bresnahan, the team banded together and continued their pursuit of a championship title despite their grief. Oscar winner Helen Hunt leads the cast as Bresnahan in this touching and galvanizing sports film. (April 6)

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Adrift

Tami Oldham spent an incredible 41 days stranded after a boat she was sailing in with her boyfriend was destroyed in a hurricane in 1983. Shailene Woodley plays Oldham and Sam Claflin plays boyfriend Richard Sharp. The film is based on Tami’s 1998 self-published memoir, Red Sky in the Mourning. (June 1)

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Loving Pablo

This is wild. Virginia Vallejo, a reporter in the 1980s, got caught up in a love affair with notorious drug czar Pablo Escobar, putting her life in danger, not to mention seriously comprising her work. Real-life spouses and Oscar winners Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem play Vallejo and Escobar in this festival circuit hit. (June 15)

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TAG

Of all the true stories made into films this year, this one might be the most unbelievable. A group of friends carried on the same game of tag for 30 years, until one of them (Jeremy Renner) decided to opt out. The group (including Jon Hamm and Isla Fisher) converge on Renner’s character’s wedding to try to keep the game alive. Yes, this actually happened. (June 15)

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White Boy Rick

Matthew McConaughey plays Richard Wershe, Sr., a struggling blue-collar worker whose son, played by Richie Merritt, becomes the youngest FBI informant ever. At 14 years of age, Rick Jr. was recruited by FBI agents to help them prosecute drug dealers in his neighborhood. Rick Jr. was not involved in drugs and official FBI records listed his father as the actual informant. This film tells the incredible true story from the inside. (September 14)

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The Happy Prince

Rupert Everett wrote, directed, and stars in this film about the last days of Oscar Wilde, a role he was seemingly born to play. Publicly disgraced after being convicted and imprisoned for “gross indecency,” Wilde finds himself a pariah and struggles to regain his place in society. Everett plays Wilde in his waning days and in flashbacks that detail his fall from grace and the life that might have been. (October 5)

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First Man

Once upon a time, space was still the final frontier and Neil Armstrong was one of its first pioneers. Ryan Gosling plays the astronaut as he prepares for the moon landing. Director Damien Chazelle, who won an Oscar for La La Land, reteams with his star for this true story. (October 12)

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Beautiful Boy

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Can You Ever Forgive Me?

Melissa McCarthy plays real-life celebrity profiler Lee Israel, who wrote popular biographies about stars like Tallulah Bankhead and Estee Lauder. This film focuses on a less glittery portion of her life, drawn largely from her own memoir of the same name. After seeing her fortunes fall and her paychecks dry up in the early 1990s, Israel stumbled into letter forgery and quickly got caught up doctoring missives from famous people with her own poison pen. There was some controversy when she released her memoir, because many felt she shouldn’t get to profit from a criminal confession. When this film opens, you get to be the judge. (October 19)

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Bohemian Rhapsody

Freddie Mercury gets a long film treatment starring the superb Rami Malek, award-winner for Mr. Robot. In a dazzling about-face from that introverted, tortured hacker character, Malek sings, dances, and struts as the flamboyant Queen frontman. The film tracks the group from its formation to their 1985 Live Aid performance. (November 2)

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